Father’s Day

To all the good fathers out there, I wish you a happy Father’s Day and I hope today was a good day for you.

:: sigh ::

It took years of therapy, a good conversation with my sister today, and still, I have a hard time writing that opening sentence.

I hope you didn’t have to deal with a dysfunctional family when you were growing up. I doubt anyone has the traditional “nuclear family”, but surely, there is some example of normal out there somewhere. I hope you had it in your childhood. I figure, if you did, you probably enjoy things like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

My sister and I, we didn’t. We like to believe that the crazy environment we grew up in made us the strong people we are today. It’s true. If you survive something like that, you are stronger.

But you remember your parents. Days like Mother’s Day. may be easier to handle if you are a mother. You strive to be a better parent, and you love your children. I can handle Mother’s Day.

Still, I hate Father’s Day.

He was never around. Or, if he was, he was so drunk he wasn’t present. He never made the effort to be a part of our lives. What kind of father was that? Please….

I’ve always had this mental block on Father’s Day. I just don’t remember when it’s coming around. Unfortunately, this means I need to set a reminder now…. My husband adopted my kid, and my husband isn’t such a bad guy. I have to make myself say the words now…

Happy …

:: closes eyes and swallows ::

Father’s Day.

:: deep breath ::

Gods above, can’t I call it something else????

Rites of Passage

We all have them at different points of our lives. As parents, we watch our children go through them as they grow.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Graduation.
The First Day of School.
Puberty.
High School.

Yesterday, we celebrated another rite of passage with our son:

The Big Day

 

High School Graduation

I don’t know who’s happier for school to be over – the boy, or me. But at the same time, I got all weepy yesterday. Gods! My kid is a high school graduate now! I’m not ready for this; how on earth can he be ready??? It’s not time yet. He can’t be 18.

Don’t get me wrong; I know this has to happen. But where does the time go? You mothers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I still remember that little boy who graduated Pre-K, back in 2003. And look at him now!

 

Then and Now

 

For those who haven’t reached this milestone yet, here’s my unsolicited perspective from my experience. There are times you share the joy of your kid’s experiences, and there are times you may butt heads over grades, and perhaps late homework. Keep going to bat for your kid. STAY INVOLVED and talk to the teachers. Fight for your kid’s education, because the teachers are so busy they can’t fight for everyone. They are so relieved when the parents get involved, even when they disagree.

Is your kid not doing well in class? Is this sudden or a trend? Talk to your kid and find out why. Grounding and restrictions isn’t the way to resolve this problem, as it usually stems from external problems, physiological issues, depression, or in some cases, undiagnosed learning disorders. Work with your kid on study habits. Help them find alternatives that work if the standard skills don’t. Different people have different learning styles.

When things aren’t working, find a good friend (or two), who can stand in as a tutor for your kid. Your kid knows this person and relates to them well, and you know them. They’re friends of the family, so the relationship is already there. We couldn’t have done this without some of our close friends that we consider family. 🙂

 

Rite Of Passage

 

When it’s all said and done, your kid(s) will graduate, too, and you’ll feel as though you’ve gone through your own rite of passage as a parent. Perhaps we do. Because it’s the beginning of another phase of our kids lives, and we know they’re going to fly the nest. We have to let them go, and thus, begin the next phase of our own.

 

 

From the Mouths of Babes

My niece recently posted a list of questions she asked her young son, and shared his loving, adorable answers. I wish I’d done something similar when my son was his age. However, I firmly believe that it is never too late!

Behold, the 17-year-old perspective on the same questions. And, yes, I enjoyed going through these questions with my son. I hope he had just as much fun as I did.

  1. What is something mom always says to you?

Boy!

  1. What makes mom happy?

Coffee

  1. What makes mom sad?

When you don’t get anything for Mother’s Day from your favorite, most beloved son.

  1. How does your mom make you laugh?

When you get confused by memes.

  1. What was your mom like as a child?

Low-key “problem child”.

  1. How old is your mom?

Hmmm…. 29.

  1. How tall is your mom?

smol

  1. What is her favorite thing to do?

Drink coffee.

  1. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

I don’t want to know.

  1. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Can’t decide between loudest scream, weirdest dance, or “used up the entire worlds supply of coffee beans”. On second thought, all three of those.

  1. What is your mom really good at?

Making incense. Your incense is the bomb.

  1. What is your mom not very good at?

Chess. “You’re not good at chess, mom. I would totally kick your ass.”

  1. What does your mom do for a job?

You make incense and other aromatherapy products. And probably sell them as drugs. Hard core drugs. Don’t put that, though.

  1. What is your mom’s favorite food?

The souls of the damned.

  1. What makes you proud of your mom?

Do I have to choose one thing here? I mean, somehow I didn’t wind up dead. Good job! … I’ve honestly never thought about specific things. I’m just proud of you because you’re the bomb, in general, pretty much.

  1. If your mom were a character, who would she be?

Probably Kanayamaryam, from Homestuck.

  1. What do you and your mom do together?

Make a lot of tasteless jokes in the car.

  1. How are you and your mom the same?

We finish each other’s … sandwiches.

  1. How are you and your mom different?

I crave change a lot more than you do.

  1. How do you know your mom loves you?

You’re very understanding about my stance on controversial issues.

  1. What does your mom like most about your dad?

I have no idea.

  1. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

There are a few places. The garage, to work on her incense; Neesi’s house; Starbucks…

  1. How old was your Mom when you were born?

Hang on… ok… you were … ?? Thirty…two?? No… Thirty, right? No! You were 29.

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Last month I wrote a post on Family History and HopeWe leave for my sister’s this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, we’re having breakfast with the person from the VFW who helped coordinate the effort to find the family and get James’ honors back home. Tomorrow afternoon we all go to the VFW. Continue reading “Tomorrow is the Big Day”

Holiday Spirit

The holidays are on us. Whether you celebrate or not, ’tis the season and it’s all around you. Every year I have the house decorated by now. I’ve always been of those who gets into the holiday spirit. The music brings back childhood memories of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and other Christmas specials. I always loved to decorate the tree then lay underneath and look up at the lights.  Continue reading “Holiday Spirit”

Family History and Hope

My Great Aunt Bess had a son who bravely fought in WWII. James Lynn Barnes served in the U.S. Army and lost his life June 6, 1944, at Normandy. He was 33.

I was very young when I heard the stories of James, and I wish I’d paid more attention to my Gran. I know the family considered him a hero, but in truth, all our veterans are heroes. James was well loved, as was my Aunt Bess. I do have fond memories of her. She was everything you can think of when you imagine goodness in a person. My sister and I both loved her very much. Continue reading “Family History and Hope”

Memories, Family, and Missing Records

I remember many things about my Gran, but I received a text from my sister a couple of nights ago that brought to mind some distant memories.

Get some popcorn and something to drink. You’re going to need the backstory on this one.

Gran always had these antique bibles. She didn’t just have one; although, she did have one very large one. She had a few. As a young child I never understood the need for so many bibles. I just thought they were prettier than the bibles they had at the church down the street. These had gold leafing that appeared to be worn. The covers felt different. As I remember them today, they had the “old book” scent you’ll only smell with an antique book. But what puzzled me at the time was why she wrote inside these books… all of them. If a child was born, the name and date went into the bible. If someone passed away, the name and date went into the bible. Generations of the family could be traced with this information.

They looked something like this.
They looked something like this.

There were memories, too… If she went to a funeral she’d get a flower, bring it home, and press it in the bible. She’d place it at a specific passage for the person and she could usually tell you exactly whose flower it was years after the funeral.

As I look back I now know why she had so many – when a family member passed on their bible must have been given to her. She seemed to be the keeper of the family photographs, too. I think she was the family Records Keeper.

Many things were lost or misplaced in our house. My sister and I grew up in a somewhat chaotic environment, to put it mildly. Regardless, Gran’s bibles were always in the same place. If anyone needed to find one of them, they were always there, never moved.

I moved out of the house around 1989/1990. My Gran passed away shortly thereafter. I was young and foolish about many things in my life. I didn’t give her bibles any thought. There they sat in what was now my mother’s house.

Years later, mom eventually had to move into an apartment. She downsized her belongings and sold the home. My hoarder of a mother had a difficult time letting things go.

Finally I return to my sister’s text. She wanted to know if I had Gran’s old bibles. I told her no, I thought she had them. She has a few boxes in storage she needs to go through and she’s hoping to find them there.

It would be just like my mother, the Queen of Hoarders, to finally throw something away and have it be something this important.

A Childhood Icon

I grew up in an old neighborhood in Dallas, TX. One of my fondest childhood memories was when mom would pile the family into the car and we’d all go down to Keller’s drive-in.

For those of you unfamiliar with such an establishment, this is the type of place Sonic tried to replicate but never got it right. Yes, they have car hops, and yes they leave the trays on your window, but it just isn’t the same. One should not push a button to call for service at these places. We always left our headlights on (or maybe flashed them).  The look and feel of Keller’s was always a “hole-in-the-wall” kind of place. The food was great and everyone always knew the “regulars”. If you wanted a fast food burger, you could go to Jack-In-The-Box.

But I digress.

My friends Badcat and Lyl were in the car with me. We’d had a girls night out while I was in town and were on our way back to Lyl’s when I passed Keller’s. This is how the conversation went:

Me: OMG! Y’all still have a Keller’s up here?

Badcat: Yes, we do. That one’s been there for years.

Lyl: What’s a Keller’s?

Me: Oh no. We have to fix that.

And I did a U-turn right in the middle of Northwest Highway. Impulsive buy, #5 Specials for everyone. It was sooooo good. I felt like I should have a moment alone with that burger, just the two of us. Yes, it was that good. I hadn’t had a Keller’s cheeseburger since they tore down the drive-in over on Samuell Blvd. in the early 1990’s.

Last week I had to go back up to Dallas unexpectedly, for a memorial service. My sister and I both attended. After the service, my sister wanted to go to lunch. I asked her if she’d like to go to Keller’s. My sister’s response, They still have a Keller’s??”

So off we went to Keller’s. We sat in the car talking about childhood memories, both the good and the bad. We caught up on what’s going on with our kids, and we enjoyed some really good burgers and tater-tots while we were at it.

When it was all done, we heard someone talking to the guy parked next to us say, “Thanks, Mr. Keller.” My sister and I looked at each other and had that “no way” moment. When the car hop came to check on us, my sister asked her if that was really Mr. Keller next to us. She said it was.

Well, of course, I couldn’t just leave this alone.

Me: I’m going to get out and introduce myself to him.

Seester: What??? What are you going to say?

Me: I’m not going to be rude or all “OMG You’re Mr. Keller???” He’s trying to eat. But this man owns Keller’s drive-in. It’s a huge part of my childhood memories – the good ones. I want to thank him and tell him how we enjoyed going to the place over on Samuell Blvd. Yeah. I’m getting out of the car. 

Seester:  :: facepalm ::

Mr. Keller was a sweet old man who was kind enough to tell me I wasn’t old enough to remember that place. We didn’t take up too much of his time, but my sister and I did introduce ourselves and we did tell him how fondly we remember the place from childhood.

It was a great way to end a sister lunch.

If you’re ever in Dallas, you’ve got to go to this place and have the #5 Special. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried it.

Kellers Burgers and Beer

Fleeting visits pass, still they satisfy

Last weekend my husband had a festival to work up in the DFW area. I went up with him and his crew. I love the festivals up in the DFW area if for no other reason, I get to see my friends and family.

This time, I think I spent more time with my sister than I’ve spent in a very long time. I think we both miss that “sister-time” we used to have when we were younger…

Friday night, we went to dinner and caught up with what’s going on in each other’s lives. We talked about our kids. We talked about her job. We talked about our health, getting older, etc…  After dinner, we said our goodnights & went our separate ways. It wasn’t so difficult because I knew I was going to see her the next day.

Saturday, she came out to the festival with one of my nieces & my youngest great-nephew (I still do not consider myself old enough to be a great-aunt… the great-aunts I remember from childhood were old ladies who wore their hair up in buns…). After looking around, they rescued me from the heat & took me back to her nice, air-conditioned home (did I mention this was an outdoor festival in North Texas and it was over 90 degrees?). My sister did what any sister would do. She let me shower, loaned me something to wear that she knew she wouldn’t see again (or, at least, wouldn’t see for a few months), handed me a beer, and said, “relax, honey.”

And relax, I did. We hung out together in her bedroom. She was looking things up on her computer while we were talking, and I was making a draft of the post previous to this one. That was when she said, “OMG! We have a Super Moon Tonight!!” Now, you have to understand… My sister and I have always had this thing about the full moon. When we were young, she taught me the rhyme, “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, and God bless me.” We’d go outside and look at the full moon together and admire its beauty. When she moved to Florida, my sister was so far away, at first I didn’t know what to do. But we’d talk on the phone. I’d look at the full moon and I’d think of her. Sometimes we’d call each other, talk about the full moon, and do the whole “I’m-thinking-of-you” thing, but it wasn’t as frequent as either of us would have liked.

When she moved back home to Texas, I think we got closer. We still live a good distance apart, but not half the country away. Just a few hours. We call each other when we see the full moon. I love it when my sister calls me, all excited, and tells me to “go outside now! it’s beautiful!”

Now that you have the back-story on the full moon, you know why the Super Moon was so important to my sister and me. We were together that night. We jumped in the car and drove out to where we could see the moonrise and we waited. I’d like to say it was easy to find, but it wasn’t. We were about to give up because it was kinda’ cloudy and hazy. Just as she was about to turn around and drive home, I saw the moon and said “WAIT!” We were in the parking lot of some park. We had a beautiful view. And, damnit…. I didn’t have my camera. But we got out of the car and stood there, arms around each other, and watched this big, beautiful full moon come up, and listened to the frogs around us. For the first time in a while, I was calm.

We eventually went back to her home. I had to get my things and get back to the hotel. I got to say goodbye to my niece, her husband (I suppose that makes him my nephew), and my great nephew. Before I left, I got down in the floor with my great nephew and told him when his Mimi and I were young, we used to say a rhyme about the moon, and I asked him if he’d say it with me.

I see the moon
The moon sees me
God bless the moon
And God bless me

He started singing it. He knows the rhyme quite well. But he sang to me, “I see the moon and the moon sees you. God bless the moon and God bless you.” I’m right there with my sister – that boy has me wrapped around his finger. 🙂

I’m glad I got to spend more time with my sister this trip up. I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like. I don’t see us moving up to the DFW area anytime soon, so I think she needs to move down here. 😉  

Fleeting visits pass
Still they satisfy
Reminders of the next
Overshadow goodbye
Our flames burn as one

Sister, I see you
Dancing on the stage of memory
Sister, I miss you…